…of course it’s on at the same time as the finale of Battlestar Galactica, so how are you supposed to watch both? I don’t know. Get a DVR. Have a friend record it for you. Download it. Call your local cable/satellite provider! Do I have to do everything here?
Seriously, it’s unfortunate timing for Dollhouse, considering the likely overlap between their audience and BSG’s. But as Whedon, who wrote the episode, “Man in the Street,” has been saying, it moves the series off the Echo-imprint-of-the-week and in a much more serial and hopefully fruitful direction. It’s also simply inventive, well-written and even—at times, with an assist from Patton Oswalt (above)—funny.
The episode doesn’t solve the plausibility problems the series has had—i.e., why would anyone even use the Dollhouse?, a question that the framing device of “Man in the Street” addresses again. But it does at least suggest one answer that works for its specific story: to imprint a doll with the identity of a specific individual. It also doesn’t solve the problem of Eliza Dushku’s acting range, but “Man” is the least Echo-centric episode so far, which may or may not also have something to do with its being the best so far.
Good, audacious writing and strong performances can make you overlook a lot of implausibility, as Lost has proven since Sawyer shot his first polar bear. I don’t know yet if Dollhouse is fixed, but it’s worth making an appointment for again.